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March 16 2009

Poll - What do you think of Dollhouse so far? SFX Magazine asks that all important question. The results can be found here.

The poll can be found on the right hand side.

I'm reserving judgment as of yet.
Every ep has been better and I really liked the last one. Looking forward to #6 on and hopefully more like Joss shows.
101% ?

Dollhouse -- it's so good, it breaks polls
Hmm, not exactly much wiggle room between "I really like it, I don't know what everyone else is complaining about" and "it's okay, I suppose", is there? ;). I understand the complaints, but I'm becoming more and more enthusiastic every episode. Hmmm. Guess I'll just go for the first option, if only to spread some positivism.
Also reserving my judgement. At the moment I'd say it's good not great, but it is getting better with each episode. Ep #5 was the first one I really enjoyed.
SFX also answered a Dollhouse question at their Burning Sci-fi questions.
I understand the complaints, but I'm becoming more and more enthusiastic every episode. Hmmm. Guess I'll just go for the first option, if only to spread some positivism.

Yeah, that was my thinking GVH (quelle surprise ;). Because I can understand (most of) what everyone else is complaining about, I just suspect (more and more strongly) that by the time we get to the end of the season even early episodes will have a resonance they currently (seem to) lack.

I've said a few times that i'd love Joss to write a novel, with 'Dollhouse' i'm really starting to wonder if I might have got my wish but he's just using moving pictures to write it ;).
Why don't they have an "I LOVE IT" option?
Why don't they have an "I LOVE IT" option?

Did you see the SFX link that Brasilian Chaos Man posted above? I'm guessing that's why...

Random DH shoutout - The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks (thanks holeintheworld).
@ The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks - What makes a lady? Are the memories, the body, the imprints?
I clicked the first option about 50 odd times... Not so much spreading the optimism as manure lorrying loading it all over the place!

Just remember folks, manure spreading is classier than leg spreading.
I've been enjoying Dollhouse from the very beginning. But I do realize that a lot of my pleasure comes from the kind of anticipation, coupled with reliance, that I think Saje is talking about. This makes it difficult for me to explain to my less invested acquaintances why they should be watching.

I know a lot of people who, like me, don't watch a whole lot of's not a question of what they are going to watch, but if they are going to watch. So they (again I'm there too) are only going to watch something that is 1) related to something that pleased them before, 2) a program that got great reviews from reviewers they credit, or 3) whatever bit of nonsense immediately appeals to their down-time brain when they switch on the set for momentary diversion and/or numbing effect. (This is not a highbrow thing; I watch my share of inexcusable trash, and enjoy it fine.)

I successfully recruited a number of Buffy and Angel fans by showing them a later season episode or two I thought would intrigue, and then lending them the whole set. I am reluctant to press anyone about the current Dollhouse episodes, because unless a person is confident about the payoff- I fear they won't be hooked- and are then unlikely to give it a chance later.

But, of course, this bodes ill for longevity. And I really want to see where Dollhouse can go.

[ edited by toast on 2009-03-16 15:16 ]
Hey, 73%. That's pretty frakkin' awesome.
Oh, you are so very making me smile! z, isn't that against the rules?
No, its PART of the rules, my friend :).
Where's your better half?
She's been very busy and so she lurks but doesn't post much.
It really is too soon to tell whether it's going to be good or not. I want to trust that Eliza is right, that #6-13 are where it really hits its stride. So I would also like to reserve judgment a while longer. It's sad that network TV demands judgment (in terms of ratings numbers) so much sooner.

Certainly #5 was the best one so far.
Dollhouse has yet to captivate me, but I'm sticking with it. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment? There are definitely some engaging and curious elements to the show and
I'm hopeful that in time, things will gel. The idea of a larger, hidden Conspiracy keeps me coming back. Lastly, as much as I like Eliza, this is just not an ideal vehicle for her.
I'd much rather another actress portray Echo. Too bad that Summer Glau's dance card is full.
I think they've reset the poll or possibly blocked/disguarded Whedonesque votes.
Well, of all the ... How incredibly justified of them ! I wish I could be angry but I don't in any way blame them for what seems a fairly sensible act ! *doesn't shake fist at SFX !*

(that said, what makes you say that gossi ? It doesn't look totally out of whack with the results when I voted a few hours back, still a healthy number that clearly aren't fans. Or did the "I really like it" numbers jump up before being brought back down into the 30s ?)
It had jumped to something like 85% of people saying they loved Dollhouse over the course of the day, and then suddenly back down. It's currently 33% like the show.
Ah OK, missed it at 85%, last time I checked it was 38%.
How scientific is this poll?

Just kidding.
So what? They're only accepting votes from non-fans? Apparently we've become so organized that we: Must. Be. Stopped.

I feel slightly disenfranchised. In the way that doesn't really matter in the greater scheme of things. But still...
Personally, I'm reserving judgment on Dollhouse. I did enjoy the last episode better than the others. It's becoming something of a mystery and a puzzle I want to see solved, I think.

Oh and as predicted, Topher is (so far) my favorite character.

The poll accepted my vote just fine, btw. (Maybe they just want a poll that's fairly accurate and not one that's spammed with votes.)

Edited to add-I agree with Saje. Dollhouse does have the feel of a visual novel to me.

[ edited by menomegirl on 2009-03-16 18:18 ]
I don't think it's actually denying anybody the ability to vote, but some of the high percentage of positive votes just... got lost. Not sure if it's because they were repeated votes or just because they came from us.
If all that's happened is the percentages shifted, even drastically, then it's possible the early vote skewed high for one option because of where the poll got linked early on, and now it's gotten more exposure and reflects more differences of opinion. I don't see a count of votes anywhere when I look at the results.
Well, it seems like something screwy was going on with the voting. Why would it jump up so drastically and then down without the votes being dropped?

I'm not really stressing over it, but it still seems a bit fishy.
This poll is not asking what your ultimate judgement on Dollhouse is, it's asking what you think of it so far. I think anyone should be able to answer that.
I was a bit cool toward it at the start, but, as I've said to so many people, "Buffy. Angel. Firefly. Serenity. The man's earned my trust many times over."

Am really geting excited about it now. Can't wait till the next episode.
It does seem odd to me that the fans of Joss are cut from the voting, aren't those the very people who read SFX? Alienating your readership? *eyeroll*
It kind of reminds me of the SciFi channel changing it's name to SiffySyFy, who are they trying to impress? The same people who watch the wrestling?

[ edited by embers on 2009-03-16 19:44 ]
It's only speculation. It's also possible Whedon fans were stuffing the ballot box (hence the incredible gains it made in favour of the show), so SFX removed the multiple votes.
I'm pretty sure that they cannot tell where the people casting a specific vote have come from, but they can probably tell when one person votes more than once. So what's happened is most likely not that votes coming from Whedonesque are blocked, but that they've removed all instances of multiple votes coming from same IP address/person.
They can also track where votes come from, from the page referral headers.
So far, I'm disappointed with "Dollhouse." The show has no strong, engaging personalities for me to latch on to. Joss' shows have ALWAYS provided that until now.
Wow. Do they also know when we've been naughty or nice?
Yeah, I'd assume they are just getting rid of people voting more than once. I think that's entirely fair. I don't understand the point of voting multiple times... I mean, I do for that person, but then what's the point of the poll?
This show has been incredibly dissapointing. My problem with the show is that it has not only been boring but lacks that typical Whedon feel to his past shows. Honestly, until this last episode I thought the show lacked any Whedon humor whatsoever. The entire part about the one Doll being attracted to the other was hilarious. That felt like Joss.

I want the show to make it but it really has to step it up in a big way over the next couple epsidoes or this will be the first Whedon show I have ever "tuned out". Hopefully this most recent show was a step in the right direction.
I marathoned all the eps thus far on Saturday. I like it a lot though the concept still squicks me on occasion.

I did like that the poll was auto-populated with the "I like it!" option, heh. Also, kind of weird that it's on the SFX UK site, since um, is it airing in the UK yet?
I think the problem it's the same if, let's say, someone from ouside USA (Brazil, as one exemple) comenting about the show ;)
And seems that SFX is trying to please the Buffy fans, (well, not with the poll). They have a review of a vampire movie - Lesbian Vampire Killers, at the front page.
This is just a bog standard SFX poll, there's no great meaning behind it. So I wouldn't take it seriously. I just thought it looked liked it could spark some interesting discussion e.g. taking the pulse of the fandom.
The show has no strong, engaging personalities for me to latch on to. Joss' shows have ALWAYS provided that until now.

Really? Huh... what's the name of the program that you're watching again? I kid, of course, its not for everybody.
Stories can engage an audience on an intellectual or emotional level, and the best stories do both. Dollhouse definitely is smart, and I find it interesting from that perspective. But the show has yet to really engage me emotionally. Dollhouse has brains, but it needs to show us more heart.

I've been watching every week and the show keeps getting better. Then again, I expected as much because it's Joss' show, and longer story arcs are how he rolls... heh. However, my concern all along has been that the general TV viewing audience does not have the patience to allow a show to build its world over several episodes, and tantalize us with foreshadowing, before kicking into a higher gear. Many people who are familiar with Joss' work are willing to let the story play out, but the general ADD afflicted TV audience? Not so much. I can see why Joss made sure to get a guaranteed 13 episode run... Dollhouse is telling its story and the best is yet to come.
According to this totally 100% serious news article, Glen Beck of FOX News doesn't like the show either:

Glenn Beck's primetime melodrama festival, in which he advanced his Unified Field Theory of All Bad Things Are The Same (Obama is President! Pelosi is also important! Blagojevich! His hair! Weird people in military uniforms! Dollhouse isn't that good! Sales of the new U2 album are stagnant! Sexting!)

I had no idea that Glen Beck was a Whedie. ;-)
Dollhouse is telling its story and the best is yet to come.

I think Fox are feeling the same way. They're promoting the trailer for episode 6 on the front page of the official Dollhouse site. I don't think they've done that since the premiere.
My take so far:

Episode 1 - A bit boring, thematically some nice stuff.
Episode 2 - Great. Engaging, entertaining, funny. Emotional connection to Boyd and Echo.
Episode 3 - Didn't work at all.
Episode 4 - Wasn't entirely fond. Bit boring.
Episode 5 - Great. Engaging, funny.
Have you guys noticed there are no "goofy" characters like we've seen in all of Joss' other shows? (When I think "goofy", I think of characters like Xander, Doyle, Wash and early Wesley) I thought Topher was going to be the goofy character but he's already shown glimmers of a very dark (and/or mean) streak.

And while we like goofy characters, I think most normal folks don't feel comfortable with them unless they are stereotypical and over-the-top goofy OR relatively unimportant to the story. IMO, one of the greatest strengths in Joss' writing is his ability to take a character that most writers would use as a one time, throw-away character device and turn them into someone the viewer holds dear and really roots for.

For me, Boyd is becoming the character that I'm rooting for. (And yes, I know Boyd's not goofy per se but I don't have any other options. Am I supposed to cheer for Echo? Not yet. She might be a bad guy next week. I assume it's coming but I think it would be nice to be able to root for Caroline.)

[ edited by alexreager on 2009-03-16 22:22 ]
Episode 1 - This worked ok as an introduction. But it starts the weird mix of subtlety and obviousness that are never really hitting the right places at the right times. They always feel kind of off.
Episode 2 - Backstory really great, A story ok except for the Echo-Boyd scenes, which were excellent.
Episode 3 - Ok. Not great. I had no problem with the music or the bra, it was more that the diva takes one emotional turn too many in a tight psychological space, and she's driving the plot and climax so it's an issue. Everyone else in her story except Echo is kinda flat too, which doesn't help buoy her up as real.
Episode 4 - Really nice themes and lines speaking to the themes but the heist was awful.
Episode 5 - This is more what I expected from day 1. I start to feel the overall show hit its stride here. It's been a feeling I only get in specific scenes before. The writing and directing were real strengths here. Still not quite hitting that stride though.

To me it feels like the show's always out of joint in some way or other. Like it's struggling to find whatever it is that makes a narrative gel. It's not this scene or that scene so much as that watching them all together feels off.
So far, Dollhouse has been kinda blah to me. I probably will skip next weeks episode because of the two hour BSG finale.
For me:

Episode 1 - not very engaging A story, some unconvincing acting from Eliza (only time in the show so far). Shows promise in the concept. Characters so far slightly unengaging.

Episode 2 - Pacing off, episode feels padded. Hunt sequence too long and fails to engage. More nice arc-y snippets and great moments between Echo and Boyd. Weakest A story of the bunch.

Episode 3 - Head shake! Engaging A story, with some minor plotholes. Some funny. Pacing works better than in episode two.

Episode 4 - Story embedded more in Dollhouse than others so far. Entire cast and several arc elements tie nicely into A story, which therefore manages to engage. Very enjoyable. Topher gets more screentime and becomes more interesting as a character.

Episode 5 - Best script so far. Actual laugh out loud moments. A story is layered and resonates less obviously and clunky with Dollhouse themes than before. Shades of grey all around. Best episode to date.

For me this series has literally been growing each week, although it's a toss-up on which episode is my least favorite. It's either the pilot or episode 2.

Yeah, that was my thinking GVH (quelle surprise ;)

I know, Saje, we almost never agree on anything ;).

SFX also answered a Dollhouse question at their Burning Sci-fi questions.

Ouch, I hope they give it a fair shake in their spoiler zone. I subscribe to SFX (because, really, one of the best magazines on the planet), and it would annoy me if they gave Dollhouse low ratings based even when the show starts picking up. I remember they also had a reviewer on Lost who seemed to hate the show and kept giving the episodes low ratings in the later half of season 3 and the beginning of season 4, despite the fact that they weren't, y'know, bad anymore. Still SFX has been a huge fan of everything Whedon so far, so here's hoping things turn out okay in the long run.
I think Sunfire's 1-5 assessment saves me making my own - that's pretty much how I've been feeling too. My pet probably-wrong theory is that this was an idea that kind of struck all at once and came into being very quickly and maybe just didn't have time to percolate the way Buffy clearly did and perhaps Firefly too (which to me at least just felt so right and so sure-footed very early on). But whatever the quibbles, I've enjoyed each episode enough to watch the next, and the last two in particular.

I can't seem to find the poll on the SFX page. I think this probably says something unflattering about me.

Anyway, I'm glad FOX is hyping the coming ep. It would be nice if we could watch Dollhouse pick up some viewers and start to be more optimistic about its future.
It's on the right hand side, about half-way down the page (ish).

I know, Saje, we almost never agree on anything ;).

Like, once in a blue moon. Maybe every couple of blue moons in fact. Ahem ;).

Have you guys noticed there are no "goofy" characters like we've seen in all of Joss' other shows?

I think that's just because 'Dollhouse' is meant to be more grounded alexreager. And added to that, it's set in a workplace - not a cosy "found family" workplace like 'Firefly' or 'Angel' are set in but an actual workplace where there're people you like, people you don't, interoffice politics (and maybe embryonic or abortive romances), where there's no room (unlike in a group of friends in high-school) for someone that just constantly goofs off and where you always, ultimately, do what the boss tells you (if you want to keep your job). Saunders in 'True Believer' was a great example of that last point BTW. She did what any half-decent employee does - she made her case, raised her objections, fought her corner and then, after doing that, she did what she was told. Topher hedges more towards the sycophantic end of the employee spectrum - he's great at telling you what you want to hear but not fantastic at telling you what you need to know.

Ep 1 - good pilot IMO, sets the arc up well, introduces the main characters and tells us a bit about them, makes the premise plain and asks a few questions to boot. Not the least hole-y plot ever though.
Ep 2 - nice arc stuff, some nice backstory (though I thought some of it was also a bit heavy-handed), flickers of past imprints and Echo's first totally unambiguous appearance BUT a fairly clichéd plot and guest characters (including the imprint of the week) that are entertainingly played but slightly cookie-cutter templates (still wonder if that's deliberate though).
Ep 3 - more past flickers, nice performances (from Dichen especially IMO), maybe the densest episode thematically to date (touches on fans/fandoms and the "gilded cage", the "essential soul", free-will, the ambiguously patriarchal male authority figure, complicity in exploitation etc. - though actually, reading that back, it sounds like a description of ep 5 too so maybe that's the densest thematically) but more a head episode, emotionally I was only really engaged a couple of times.
Ep 4 - the plot starts off the smoothest to date IMO but it then degenerates slightly into an excuse to present Echo with two "parents" to see which way she'll jump and has a couple of hand-wavy areas at crucial points (that is some great smoke, maybe it had Kevlar mixed in ;) BUT was probably the most engaging emotionally because we get to spend a lot of time with the hero of the piece, Echo herself. And we find we like her, cos she's nice. Yay ;).
Ep 5 - the most complete episode though also arguably the most conventional. Or maybe that's a sham conventionality cos this also feels like the morally wobbliest episode so far - most of the "baddies" are actually right, so are several of the "goodies" and they're all arguably wrong at least once. But I like Esther a lot, we see more composite-y goodness, Boyd gets a big hero moment and there're villains to boo and hiss at so it's also engaging emotionally.
Ep 6 - renewal becomes a dead cert and Fox holds an official medal ceremony for Joss and the team. Well, mine are already crossed ;).

(and if they've just filtered it by IP - to extract unique votes - then I don't blame them a bit. If they've filtered one of the bigger Whedon fansites out en masse by the referrer logs then I think that's slightly skewed. Still up to them - it's their poll and not the end of the world either way - but skewed nonetheless)
I'm waffling between 'It's okay' and 'I'm disappointed'...while I wouldn't express outright disappointment, I do feel that it's left a lot to be desired thus far. But would I watch it if it wasn't made by Joss? No, I wouldn't...I guess that puts me in the 'disappointed' camp, at least for now.
I'm not blown away yet -- but the last two have had me laughing, and a couple of them have had me pretty gripped. If Episode 6 really is the game-changer we've been promised, I'll cheerfully write off these first few as Season 1 rough spots. (I mean, who really watches "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" anymore, really?)
*raises hand ever so slightly*

I'm actually one of those people who really liked Buffy S1. Maybe because I watched it from the start, originally. I've basically watched all of Joss' shows on television from the start and Dollhouse has so far had the least convincing beginning. But that's probably also partly because Angel S1 - which wasn't that strong either in its first few episodes - was based on a world that we already knew and loved.
I liked Angel from the start, and I'd never watched Buffy. I like vampire detectives.
Heh, I love Never Kill A Boy On The First Date...

"Cute guy! Teenager! Post-pubescent fantasies!"
"He has a certain Owenosity"
"He tried to bite me...what a sissy!"

and of course

Xander: So, Buffy, how'd the slaying go last night?
Buffy: Xander!
Xander: I mean, how'd the laying go?

As for Dollhouse I'd say:
Ep 1 - Average episode, set up some stuff well and imprinted character was good but felt padded in places and opening scene was painful.
Ep 2 - Great flashbacks and development for Boyd, good hints at arc stuff but also felt padded and imprinted character had little individual personality.
Ep 3 - Painfully bad in places in an A plot that eventually lost my interest. Some interesting B plot stuff but definitely the worst episode out of the 5 for me.
Ep 4 - Good character development for Echo (even if it is wiped at the end) and nice feel to the episode. Probably my favourite so far. Ballard plot felt like a repeat.
Ep 5 - Tightly written, objectively probably the best episode but A plot a bit dull - though may improve on rewatch. Great B plot.

In order of favourites I'd say: 4, 2, 5, 1, 3
Thanks for the quotes Leaf--I needed a laugh.

Xander: I mean, how'd the laying go?

How do know you've captured the essence of funny? Almost immediately you can picture the scene (and Xanders expression--lol) and that line/scene will be funny in 100 years.

Gotta love the classic Buffy lines. While early S1 Buffy isn't my fave, it's still head and shoulders above most TV out there today. Do we really need another crime procedural? Or another show about a really clever guy that can "read your mind" to find out who-done-it? Meh. For me, those shows rank right up there with reality tv.
I'm going to add my voice to the "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" and general Buffy S1 love! The show definitely hadn't realized its full potential, but the sparkle and wit and charm were all there pretty early on, in spite of the odd very clunky episode. Of course, it's lovely to go and re-watch too, and see them all looking so cute and (relatively) undamaged. But the concept was just so brilliant in a not-too-complicated way, which made it easier to immediately wrap one's head around than something like Dollhouse.

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